Calendar of Upcoming Events

Wednesday, March 1
Community Spaghetti Dinner.  Crichton Fellowship Hall, 5:30 PM.
Ash Wednesday. Worship Service, Sanctuary, 6:45 PM

Sunday, March 5
Lenten Sermon Series.  “Last Words of Jesus”, Sanctuary, 10:30 AM
Women's Luncheon.  Crichton Fellowship Hall, 11:45 AM

Tuesday, March 7
ESOL & GED Enrollment. Crichton Fellowship Hall, 10 AM – 1 PM.

Wednesday, March 8
Lenten Study. “24 Hours That Changed the World”, Library, 6:45 PM. 

Wednesday, March 15
Vision Committee Meeting. Library, 10 AM

Saturday, March 25
UMM Flapjack Fundraiser. Applebee’s Restaurant, 829 Providence Road, Brandon Florida, 8-10 AM

Tuesday, March 28
ESOL & GED Classes Start.  RUMC Campus, 7:00 – 9:00 PM.

Saturday, April 1
Day on Campus.  Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, Enterprise, Florida, 9 AM-3 PM.
The congregation—and especially our older members—can provide the environment and financial security to that newcomers can feel comfortable to worship, raise their children, and feel like they are making a real difference.

The latest Vision meeting was held on Tuesday, January 31st at 10 AM.  Special thanks to Mindy Williams who took extensive minutes for that meeting.

Pastor Merritt recently attended a meeting with neighboring Methodist pastors (New Hope, St. Andrews, and Ruskin) under Beth’s leadership. The purpose of the meeting was to identify community needs. The other pastors indicated that the largest hole for service in the Greater Brandon area was with homeless families with children. Many families are couch-surfing or living out of their cars, and so social service agencies tend to under-report them. So, our area pastors are looking at ways to meet this need working in concert.​

It was also noted that ECHO, the Brandon emergency food location is looking for a new location—either in North Brandon or in Riverview. Vicki Harrison from New Hope is our ECHO contact person. ECHO is a community based secular non-profit located on Parsons Avenue just north of U.S. 60 (Brandon Avenue).

ECHO can provide GED testing, and can be available monthly to help job applicants with writing skills and resumes. These activities could help with Lay Pastor Norma Encarnacion’s planned GED and ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. There are also programs for migrant workers to get funding for college or vocational training. There is a community of 450 Hispanic congregants at Sun City Center UMC that would also be a source of educational support for Hispanic families.

Another potential service partner for RUMC is Family Promise of Greater Brandon. Family Promise provides shelter, job training, and housing options to a limited number of homeless families. Family Promise is supported by a consortium of churches stretching from South Riverview to Plant City.

Dan Yost, Connie Mosley, Jack Findlay, and Mike Plett recently visited St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Sun City Center. That church has partnered with Metropolitan Ministries to provide hot lunches to needy folks in Sun City Center every Wednesday at noon. Metropolitan Ministries cooks the meals at their North Tampa kitchen, and church volunteers bring the meals to the fellowship hall and serve 80-100 people every week. This service addresses elderly residents on fixed incomes who appreciate the food and the fellowship they receive.

Metropolitan Ministries also partners with Grace United Methodist Church—a small ministry of New Hope UMC—to serve breakfast on their campus nearby the Orient Road jail. The serve 120 breakfasts to a mainly transient community once a week.

Beth Potter notes that millennial families do not typically attend church regularly, but that those that do can be attracted to churches of a smaller size that have ways to plug-in for short meaningful outreach activities. RUMC is no longer an attraction model for younger members. We need to be willing to change, experiment with different types of worship, and new programs. Change may be “messy” and not what we are comfortable with, but we need to change to impact people in ways they understand and will accept.

The congregation—and especially our older members—can provide the environment and financial security to that newcomers can feel comfortable to worship, raise their children, and feel like they are making a real difference.

The next scheduled Vision Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 15th at 10 AM in the church library.


RESTORE Successfully Re-Launches
RESTORE successfully re-opened at the end of January. It is now open two days a week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) from 10 AM until 1 PM, with a goal of serving 75 families each day. During its first full week of operations, RESTORE distributed groceries to a total of 331 individuals from our community

RESTORE also had its first Yard Sale in the new year on Saturday, February 11th. The Yard Sale raised a total of $800. These funds help RESTORE purchase additional food items to supplement its Feeding America Tampa Bay and USDA food donations.

Under the joint leadership of Maritza Rivera and Dan Yost, there are currently 10 RESTORE volunteers involved in food collection and distribution and in operating the thrift store. Half of the volunteers come from the church, and the other half help just because they have felt a calling to help out. Hopefully the re-launch of RESTORE will be just the beginning of a new long-term commitment to our neighborhood.

RESTORE is an equal opportunity provider and is open to the public.

Pastor’s Lenten Study and Sermon Series
Everyone is invited to our annual Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 1st at 6:45 PM. We will be serving Spaghetti dinner to the community beginning at 5:30 PM, 
but no other Wonderful Wednesday activities on Ash Wednesday.

Pastor Merritt will begin a Lenten Study based on Adam Hamilton’s “24 Hours That Changed the World”. The study begins by comparing the various gospel accounts of the Last Supper, and ending with the Lord’s death on the cross 24 hours later. The study will begin on Wednesday, March 8th.

Starting on Sunday, March 5th (the first Sunday of Lent), Pastor Merritt will begin a Lenten sermon series on “The Last Words of Christ”—based on the words of Christ on the cross as recorded in the gospel.

Everyone is welcome to participate in these Lenten activities to strengthen their faith and commitment to Christ.

UMM Flapjack Fundraiser  
The United Methodist Men are planning another Flapjack Fundraiser at the Applebee’s Restaurant on 829 Providence Road in Brandon on Saturday, March 25th. The men will be selling tickets at $7.00 apiece throughout February and March. Get your tickets and join the church for breakfast. 

Blue and Gold Ceremony on February 25th
February is typically Scouting month across our nation. RUMC currently supports a Cub Scout Pack—Pack 2015—and a Boy Scout Troop—Troop 83. The Cub Scouts typically meet on our campus on Monday nights, while the Boy Scout night is on Tuesdays.

The Pack 205 Cub Scouts are planning to hold their annual Blue and Gold Ceremony on Saturday, February 25th. You and your family are invited to attend the Ceremony which will be held in Crichton Fellowship Hall from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

Your Talents Are Needed
There are currently several opportunities for ministry available here at RUMC. How do your gifts and graces correspond to any of these challenges:

  • An Outreach and Missions Team Leader
  • A Kitchen Captain for kitchen supplies and maintenance
  • Volunteers to help with our upcoming ESOL & GED classes
  • Sunday morning greeters
  • A new church treasurer. [Connie Mosley who has held this position for the past 10 years is stepping down effective as of June 1, 2017. She is looking to train her replacement over the next 3 months.]

As always, your church needs you. Is the Holy Spirit leading you participate in the life of the RUMC church family?  

Continued on NEWS Page
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8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995
Sunday Services
Faith Groups/Sunday School, 9:00 AM-9:55 AM
Relationships/Refreshment, 10:00 AM-10:25 AM
Worship Service, 10:30 AM
Hispanic Worship Service
 12:00 Noon

Rev. Merritt Waters, Pastor
Norma Encarnacion, Lay Pastor, Hispanic Congregation

Here at Riverview First United Methodist Church, it is our mission to win people to Christ, to train believers to become disciples, and to send disciples to impact our community and the world for Jesus Christ.
Download the March, 2017
BELL Newsletter from this link.
Online Giving at RUMC

Giving online is easy and allows you to set up automatic recurring contributions and view your complete online giving history from anywhere you have access to the Internet. Or you can enter one-time contributions from the internet or by smart phone.

To get started, simply follow these easy steps:

  • Click on the Online Giving button below. This will take you to our church’s online giving webpage.

  • Click on our Create Profile button on that webpage.

  • Follow the onscreen instructions to create an online profile and to schedule your recurring or one-time contributions.






Download the Prayer Tree for 
February 26  from this link.
Bible Passage of the Week
Christ, Our Example of Humility

Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God’s equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high, and has given him the name beyond all names, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow whether in heaven or earth or under the earth. And that is why, in the end, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 (Phillips)
ESOL & GED Classes 
Now Available at RUMC

English as a Second Language (ESOL) and General Education Development (GED) classes are beginning at RUMC on Tuesday, March 28th. These classes are geared primarily to Spanish-speaking persons in the Riverview Area who are interested in improving their English language skills and obtaining the GED equivalent to a high school diploma—skills that many can use to obtain employment and a better life for themselves and their families.

ESOL and GED classes will be held every Tuesday evening from 7:00 until 9:00 PM. Although these classes will be offered free to those who enroll, persons taking the GED class will need to purchase their own “Complete GED Preparation” book.

If you are interested in taking these classes, enrollment dates are Thursday, February 23rd and again on Tuesday, March 7th. There are a limited number of slots available for these classes, so be sure to enroll on these dates if you need these skills.
You Tube videos of recent Sunday Services are available from the 
Services page.
Our Vision Ahead
Various persons from Riverview United Methodist Church have been meeting for some months now to talk about our church’s future. These ad hoc meetings, called the Vision Committee, have been held during daytime hours at times when many from our church family are unable to attend. These Vision Committee meetings are led by Pastor Merritt, Connie Mosley, and Beth Potter. Beth is a “Transition Specialist” deployed as part of the staff of our District—the South Central District headquartered in Plant City.

The Vision Committee’s struggle is that attendance is down and revenue is flat at our church. A decade ago, an average of 200 members attended weekly services; today average attendance is a little over 80 congregants--combining the regular and Hispanic services together. However, we still must maintain a large campus and a working staff with extremely limited financial resources. On the plus side, the church is currently free of debt, and we own significant property in a high traffic area. The question for the Vision Committee is how to turn these assets into a sustainable future for our church.

Beth Potter’s is sharing her knowledge and insights with RUMC. She believes that our church could grow in attendance by attracting persons who are interested in service to their community. If our church had a variety of support services that addressed real neighborhood needs, then the volunteers providing those services would also become interested in attending and supporting our church.

Beth Potter notes that millennial families do not typically attend church regularly, but that those that do can be attracted to churches of a smaller size that have ways to plug-in for short meaningful outreach activities. RUMC is no longer an attraction model for younger members. We need to be willing to change, experiment with different types of worship, and new programs. Change may be “messy” and not what we are comfortable with, but we need to change to impact people in ways they understand and will accept.
Florida "Praying Our Way Forward ... The Week of February 26--March 5, 2017